Otter Tail Power says it plans to keep its Fergus Falls coal-fired plant in operation through 2020.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered the utility company to study the cost of retiring the 53-year-old Hoot Lake plant. Otter Tail Power spokesman Brian Draxten tells Minnesota Public Radio News (http://tinyurl.com/8whvl8g ) the company considered closing the plant sooner, but with new mercury emission controls it's more cost effective to keep the plant operational.
Draxten says a 14 to 15 percent rate increase is already expected by mid-decade because of environmental upgrades to another plant. So, postponing building a gas-fired plant to replace the Hoot Lake plant will "smooth out the rate shock that customers will experience."